The national symbol of Cambodia, Angkor Wat, blew my mind away. There lies the diverse symbols of the cosmic, mythical and religious world–assembled together in one place of wonder.
Perhaps, the only reason why tourists flock to Cambodia is to see one of the 7 world wonders, that is Angkor Wat, popularized by Angelina Jolie’s blockbuster film,. It’s been said that while shooting the movie here, she was enamoured by the country that she decided to adopt a Cambodian child who she named Maddox.
The hostel owner where I stayed at in Siem Reap told me that the best thing to capture Angkor Wat in its breathtaking beauty is by sunrise. So, the tuktuk cab driver that I hired for a day ($20, circa 2008) picked me up at 4:30 in the morning. We were the first one to enter the temple gate and he promised me that it was going to be a real good day. I took his words heartily and was very excited to see the famed, postcard-perfect view of the Angkor Wat backdropped by the sunrise.
In September, during monsoon season, the weather changes in minutes, without predictable signs. I was the very first person to go inside the temple compound and had been waiting there for 35 minutes when the rain came. Unprepared, I found shelter under the huge tree, without an umbrella. Then, a throng of Japanese tourists came, prepared to battle the rain. Obviously, I didn’t receive the memo from the Divine Being that it was gonna pour that morning. By the time the rain stopped, I was 80% soaking wet. And the sun was still too shy to come out of its closet. I was devastated.
(I travelled to Cambodia in September 2008)